daira ocean world foto

Daira Velasquez Fonseca

, 18

Daira (she/her) is a Peruvian environmental activist currently based in Hong Kong. She grew up in Chiclayo, a coastal city in northern Peru. From a young age, she developed a profound love for the sea through family trips to local beaches, long walks watching the waves, and enjoying fresh ceviche prepared with fish caught locally that day – experiences that sparked her lasting passion for the ocean.

She was recognized as “one of the world’s most promising teens” in 2021 by Forbes magazine due to her work to economically empower Indigenous entrepreneurs and give visibility to their culture in Peru through her initiative “Incluye Pe” which also won the national UNICEF-sponsored award “Premio America Solidaria” due to its contribution to fulfilling the sustainable development goals. In addition, she works with various regional organisations such as the Latin American Leadership Academy, where she served as an Admission Officer, to increase youth’s engagement in social change and the development of the region.

As a result, she was selected to attend Li Po Chun UWC, one of the 18 schools part of the United World College (UWC) movement that strives to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. There she participates in a CNN Call to Earth program focused on protecting coral communities and mangrove ecosystems in Hong Kong. Through the school’s collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature, she was trained as a diver and helped survey the condition of local coral communities in Hong Kong waters, which are facing threats from pollution and rising water temperatures, and organised the first Marine Awareness week in her school to spread awareness of the importance of the conservation of marine ecosystems.

Daira believes that engaging youth and fighting for climate justice are critically important. As a member of the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council, she’ll strive to empower the younger generations to raise their voices against the threats our planet and oceans are facing. It is her belief that a more sustainable future depends on active engagement from all segments of society, especially the youth who will inherit the challenges ahead and who, through their collective ideals, activism and innovations, have the power to transform our relationship with the planet and secure a thriving future for our oceans.